Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman, Young Vic Theatre, London (Directors: Marianne Elliott & Miranda Cromwell)
By Sascha Krieger
Reality is a fickle thing. In Arthur Miller’s classic, travelling salesman Willie Loman increasingly loses his grip on it, getting swept up in memories, fantasies and long lost dreams. In the Young Vic’s new production, reality is not much to begin with. Anna Fleischle’s set focuses on fragments: door and window frames hang suspended from the ceiling, so do pieces of furniture, they are lowered or brought forward when needed, providing an illusion of reality while emphasising its sketchy nature. The world is skeletal, no more than a hint of a physical presence long dissolved or never existing in the first place. Willie Loman is a man of illusions, of elaborate dreams, a captive of self-deception, a victim of his own make-belief. This is the world he lives in: a vague idea of a half-realised reality in which nothing has substance. So it doesn’t really matter whether we’re in the present or the past, the „real“ or the „imagined“. All of this is a fantasy, born of the dream that’s called American, of its promise and its lies.